Students prepare for Taste of the NFL

FOX 26 News reporter John Donnelly

- Usually, you don't get the opportunity to play with knives in the classroom, but this course is all about mastering the blade.

"The experience, to be able to say. 'I've done it,' to be able to put it to work in my career,” said student Howard Joseph. He is taking part in a crash course at University of Houston in how to be a sous chef.

As second-in-command in a kitchen, a sous chef  has a great amount of responsibility. Essentially, planning and directing food preparation -- real world lessons and on a deadline. The students will be paired up with elite chefs for from throughout the world for the Taste of the NFL Party With a Purpose fundraising event on Feb. 4. The organizations hopes to raise money for food banks throughout the U.S.

But there's more to it.

"Also to let them know that a lot of their employees will be at or below the poverty line and it's important that they be able to recognize that.” said UH professor Reba Haskell.

Forty percent of restaurant employees are at or near poverty level, according to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, One in six people in the Houston area are food insecure, which means they don't have reliable access to affordable food. Ironically, some of them work in restaurants. The meal this class prepares will be donated to the food bank. With any luck, their new awareness will last as long as their new skills and new enthusiasm.

"It's an honor," added Joseph. "The Super Bowl comes once a year and how often does it come back to your city?”

Just to make sure the lesson sticks, students will also volunteer at the Houston Food Bank on Thursday, Jan. 12.


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